2005 Iron Man - 410-mile - Thunder Bay
Troop 33 - First Lutheran: DeKalb, Illinois

Thunder Bay Iron Man Tour
June 18 - June 26, 2005 . . $300.00


Our 9-day bicycling adventure through Wisconsin and Minnesota, to Thunder Bay Ontario Canada included a 410-mile route that took us along highways and bike trails.

Of the 9 days, 7 days were spent biking.

Loading the bike trailer for the trip.

Day 1
Biked 30 miles - Hager City, WI to Hudson, WI

We drove from DeKalb, Illinois to Hager City, Wisconsin where we started our bicycle adventure. Beginning our ride in mid afternoon we biked north on Hwy 35, following the Great River Road 30 miles north to Hudson, Wisconsin where we spent our first overnight in a hotel.

Day 2
Biked 62 miles - Hudson, WI to North Branch, MN

From Hudson, Wisconsin we biked north on Rt 35 to St Croix Falls, then west on Rt 8 across the St Croix River, then northwest on Rt 95 to North Branch. We camped overnight near North Branch, Minnesota.

Biking along Wisconsin Route 35.

Day 3
Biked 66 miles - North Branch, MN to Sturgeon Lake, MN

We biked north on Rt 61 to Hinckley, MN where we encountered a severe thunderstorm which included hail. The storm interupted our biking and we waited at a hotel in Hinkley. After the weather cleared we resumed biking north to Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota. We drove back to the hotel in Hinckley, Minnesota for our overnight.

Biking on the Willard Munger Trail.

Day 4
Biked 71 miles - Sturgeon Lake, MN to Two Harbors, MN

We biked along the Willard Munger trail north to Duluth, MN, then on the Western Waterfront Trail through Duluth, and back onto Rt 61 biking along the northern shore of Lake Superior to Two Harbors, Minnesota where we camped overnight.

Bike Route crossing I-35 in Duluth.

Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel on Rt 61.

Campsite at Two Harbors, MN.

Day 5
Biked 45 miles - Two Harbors, MN to Little Marais, MN

We continued biking north along Rt 61, a beautiful journey along the northshore of Lake Superior. Unique to that segment were two tunnels we biked through.

We biked some portions of the Gitchee-Gummi Trail, which was still under development. One of our Scouts, Colin, crashed his bike on the Gitchee-Gummi trail on an especially sharp downhill turn. He shattered his carbon fiber fork and ruined his front wheel. He also sustained some injury.

We transported him to Two Harbors Memorial Hospital where he was treated for abrasions and his right arm was x-rayed. Luckily no fractures, but his elbow was sprained. His arm was splinted and the doctor ordered no biking for 24 hours. After that he was allowed to bike with his arm splinted. He used a spare bike we'd brought along.

The doctor was also an avid cyclist and he was familiar with the turn where Colin had crashed. He'd had previous patients injured in that same turn.

Even with the considerable time spent on medical activity our Scouts still biked about 45 miles for the day. We camped overnight at Tettegouche State Park near Little Marais, Minnesota.

Rugged beauty along Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

Colin with splint for sprained elbow.

Day 6
Biked 80 miles - Little Marais, MN to Grand Marais, MN

We biked through about a half dozen or more beautiful State Parks, past incredible rocky Lake Superior shoreline, lighthouses, etc., etc.

Route 61 can be very narrow and poses some risk with large Rvs and buses sharing the roadway. We ended our days biking in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

A major storm system was moving in so we ended our day biking after arriving in Grand Marais, Minnesota. From there we drove to Canada for the night.

Crossing the border into Canada was amazingly easy. No paperwork was asked for, not even a drivers license. We had brought birth certificates, written parental permission slips, and photo IDs along for all the boys.

A major storm system produced lightning and golf ball size hail north of Thunder Bay. We stayed at a hotel in Thunder Bay for our overnight due to the dangerous weather present.

Biking along Rt 61.

A midway point.

Police from Canada and USA at the border.

Day 7
Biked 56 miles - Grand Marais, MN to Thunder Bay, Ontario

We began the day with some morning sightseeing at Fort William and Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. We wanted to experience some sights and history of Canada.

Our final day of bicycling involved biking from Thunder Bay south across the U.S. border back to Grand Marais, Minnesota where we had stopped biking yesterday.

Crossing the Canadian Shield mountains before the U.S. border presented us with biking some steep climbs. We saw one moose and a bald eagle along the way. It was a beautiful day with great scenery and challenging bicycling.

We arrived at Grand Marais after 56 miles of bicycling, then drove to Two Harbors, Minnesota where to camp overnight.

Kakabeka Falls near Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada.

Fort William near Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada.

Beautiful roadside flowers.

Day 8
Travel day -- sightseeing at Mall of America, MN

After breaking camp in Twin Harbors we drove south to the Twin Cities. We celebrated the end of our trip at Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis. Our final night was spent camping along the Elk River.

Taking down camp along the Elk River in Minnesota.

Day 9
Travel day - Returning Home

We left Elk River, Minnesota for our long drive home to DeKalb, Illinois.

The trip included 3 hotels, and 5 nights of camping. Most of the 25 meals were eaten at restaurants (some pretty nice ones too). In the 9-day trip Scouts biked 7 days for 410 miles to complete their Iron Man segment for 2005.

Thunder Bay Iron Man Tour
June 18 - June 26, 2005 . . $300.00
1 30 Miles Hager City, WI Hudson, WI
2 62 Miles Hudson, WI North Branch, MN
3 66 Miles North Branch, MN Sturgeon Lake, MN
4 71 Miles Sturgeon Lake, MN Two Harbors, MN
5 45 Miles Two Harbors, MN Little Marais, MN
6 80 Miles Little Marais, MN Grand Marais, MN
7 56 Miles Thunder Bay, ON Grand Marais, MN
Total 410 Miles
. . .


In 1995 a group of 13-year-old Scouts decided to have a program called "Iron Man". The Iron Man program involves bicycling across the width and breadth of America, north-south and east-west, through a series of bike rides conducted over several summers. Each segment would include riding 250-550 miles at a time.

In 2006 the 500-mile Memphis-New Orleans ride was the last segment of the North-South route across America, stretching from Thunder Bay Ontario Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana.

The East-West portion will stretch from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon and the Pacific. The final stretch from Couer d'Alene, Idaho to the Pacific Ocean might be scheduled sometime in the future.

Troop 33 has been doing installments of 250-550 miles for several summers biking about 4,500 miles so far. The only segment remaining is from Couer d'Alene to the Pacific Ocean.

Cliff Golden



Click Here to Return to the Troop 33 Home Page

Click Here to Return to the Troop 33 High Adventure Page

TROOP 33 DeKalb, Illinois
Click here to return to the Troop 33 Resource Pages